“My Balls Feel Like Concrete”

“I’m in bed the next day, she brings me cafe-au-lait, gives me a cigarette. My balls feel like concrete.”

— Ricky Roma, Glengary, Glenross

Ricky Roma, played by Al Pacino in one of his all-time best performances: Glengary, Glenross




Prior to the Industrial Revolution, a surveyor reported on two houses in London:

“I found the whole area of the cellars of both houses full of sewage, to the depth of three feet, which had been permitted for years to accumulate from the overflow of the cesspools … and no doubt the entire neighborhood had been infected by it.”

In Manchester:

“Many of the streets in which cases of fever are common are so deep in mire or so full of hollows and heaps of refuse that the vehicle used for conveying patients to the House of Recovery often cannot be driven along them.”

Plague, dysentery, all manner of sickness and disease — not to mention the foul stench — these were commonplace results of pollution prior to industrialization.

Here, however, is an account of early industrial pollution, which is also no joke:

“No industry has been more destructive to beauty than the petroleum industry. All about us rose derricks, squatted engine-houses and tanks, the earth about them streaked and damp with the dumplings of pumps…. If oil was found and the well flowed, every tree, every shrub, every blade of grass was coated with the black oil, and tar and oil stained everything in the vicinity. If the well went dry, oily holes were left, for nobody cleaned up in those days.”

Wealth, private property, and tort laws solve the degradation and injustices of this latter pollution.

Cronyism does not.

Technology and human progress solve the former two examples — even into the present day.

The wealth generated by successful economies is single-handedly responsible for cleaning up such horrible pollution in America, as in that latter example — including so much pristine sanitation and clean drinking water we enjoy now and which in America, as in most of the developed world, we take for granted.

Clean drinking water has been a plague on humankind for much of humankind’s history — and it still is in much of the developing world today.

Did you know that safe drinking water systems and the infrastructure that provides them are still far beyond the reach of many poor Indian and African villages, where dysentery often spreads because the simple preventative measure of installing concrete rims around the communal drinking wells are made impossible by a combination of internecine disagreements, first-world environmental groups, who believe it’s their responsibility to keep developing places from developing, and (most of all) poverty?

Did you know that reliable, lasting concrete requires mining?

Did you know that a single wind-turbine — or “bat-and-condor Cuisinart,” as the Audubon Society calls them — requires 20 MILLION tons of concrete sunk deep into the earth to anchor?

Did you know that wind-energy proponents would have us, right now in America, cover an area the size of Germany every single year with wind-turbines, despite the fact that wind power is inefficient and intermittent and requires so much hard-core industrialized mining and fossil fuel?

If you think Ricky Roma’s balls require a great deal of mining, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Do you know how much heavy-duty industrial mining and manufacturing the concrete ALONE would require for thousands upon thousands upon thousands of wind-turbines YEARLY — forget everything else (and there is much)?

If your answer is no, please don’t worry:

Most people don’t — especially the people most vehemently calling for it.

This doesn’t even touch the topic of Neodymium, which is an environmentalist tragedy that borders, in my honest opinion, on the criminal.

Nor does it touch the subject of solar cells.

Coming from a mining town, as I do, and a mining family, I can tell you with absolute authority and certitude that all the jet-setting politicians and the Hollywood elites and all the enviros and the hippy-dippies — and I have many hippy-dippy friends, I assure you, good friends, many of them — they have not the first or faintest idea how much mining is required for their day-to-day lives.

I can tell you also with great authority that the jet-setting politicians and environmental groups make up lies out of whole cloth. They’re also responsible for a great deal of environmental disasters and degradation, and they don’t want to be held liable for it.

All transportation requires mining — all of it.

“If you use any of these modes of transport — aircraft, boat, car, bus, train, motorcycle, bicycle, scooter, or segway, then you are relying on the by-products of mining for your transportation. A significant variety and quantity of minerals are required to manufacture these vehicles without even considering the fuel to power it. Now lets think about the surface most of these vehicles travel on (including you if you walk). The roads, rails and concrete paths, they’re only possible because mining companies mined the minerals used to make these surfaces for you. The same applies to the equipment used to control the flow of traffic and make it safe and reliable for you to travel. Mined minerals and more mined minerals.” (Source)

Your home or apartment is made mostly of minerals.The foundations are made mostly of concrete and steel.

“The basic services in your home (water, electricity, gas) are conducted through copper and steel wires and plastic pipes. Think about that the next time you turn on a tap or flick a [plastic] light switch on. Your bathrooms and kitchen are fitted out with essential and non essential products that also contain many minerals only made possible from mining. Yes mining provides you with the basic elements of your life — that you take for granted. You fill your home with all sorts of electronic gadgets to improve your quality of life. None of them are possible without mining the minerals that they are made from. Did you know that your television contains several rare-earth minerals? How many of us use wooden or plastic frying pans, pots, plates, cups, glasses and cutlery at home? That’s right, the majority of us use these items that are made of minerals. Minerals that have been mined.” (Ibid)

And this doesn’t even begin to capture the full extent of it, I promise you.

Neither does it touch beauty products, clothing, bedding, paint, jewelry, watches, clocks, medical equipment, office supplies, phones, computers, staples, if you still use them, and of course energy itself.

Please read more about the nature of wealth and poverty, and the indivisible link between property and person — and please celebrate the beautiful, life-sustaining industry of mining:


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